Today, the gentleman we’re going to have a chat with is a renowned PMP professional. Dubbed as the Revenue Architect, he has helped a myriad of organizations in increasing revenues and efficiencies around the globe.
Apart from that, he is an excellent writer, speaker and mentor and an internationally recognized expert in strategy and branding as well. He regularly lends his voice to SEAT and Business 2 Community along with “The Voices of Project Management.”
Please welcome the Principal at the Wakeman Consulting Group and ROI master, David Wakeman.
TASKQUE: It’s a pleasure to have you at TaskQue. First of all, tell us about the consultancy group you have been associated with for the past 12 years. What is its vision? How does your role make you excited about this affiliation?
DAVE: The vision of my consulting practice is to use revenue and financial strength as a tool to empower people and organizations to achieve more stability and create more opportunities for themselves, their businesses, and the communities they serve.
To me, the exciting thing is the ability to help people see a path towards opportunity, creativity, and connection.
I know having been involved in sales and marketing my entire career that all jobs are marketing jobs and the better you get at advocating for yourself, selling your ideas, and creating change in the world, the better you can do and the more stable your position in your organization is.
TASKQUE: Being a certified PMP professional, would you like to give some nuggets of wisdom to other portfolio managers?
DAVE: Like me, portfolio managers have to prioritize. Maybe the greatest piece of advice I can offer is to make sure that you spend the time and energy focusing on putting your efforts behind the right projects and spend extra time ensuring that every project is in alignment with the mission of the organization.
In my practice, I revisit these things 2-3 times a year because drift happens very rapidly.
But the key is to always keep an eye on prioritization and re prioritization so that you don’t go too far without recognizing that you are working on things that aren’t consistent with your mission or your vision. Or, to reinforce that you are.
TASKQUE: What do you think makes a good leader? Is there a checklist that you have to tick off to become a leader?
DAVE: I don’t know about a checklist because I think that checking boxes end up getting us into a lot of trouble.
Instead of checking boxes, I would offer up a few attributes of great leaders that I’ve seen across the years.
First, great leaders have a great deal of focus on people, the goals, the mission, change, and growth.
Second, great leaders styles vary, but they are all focused on improving their team.
Third, to me, a great leader never stops improving.
Fourth, leaders listen and take action.
Finally, every great leader has a unique style and they feel out a process that works for them.
TASKQUE: What do you think are the biggest factors that lead to the project’s failure? Any tip you would like to give for revenue generation in minimum time.
DAVE: Project failures don’t have one consistent challenge. But most of them have some form of not enough time, not enough resources, not clearly spelled out, or not actually a priority.
As far as how this aligns to make some quick revenue, if you think about what you are selling as a project, you want to think about what can provide value for your market the most quickly and effectively.
For me, I’m rolling out a workshop in Australia in the fall. So, I walked through the process of uncovering what would be massive value for my market there, what was the best way to reach them and deliver this value, and I started selling that.
In general, when you are looking for quick revenue wins, start by looking at the one thing you do better or that is unique about you and find a way to get that into the market quickly.
TASKQUE: How can organizations increase productivity? What are the biggest distractions for project leadership in achieving maximum productivity?
DAVE: I’d actually change productivity to effectiveness. And, you can become much more effective by focusing on the value you are trying to deliver, the key actions you can take that deliver value, and doing these things consistently.
As for project leaders, it is easy to get distracted because there are so many demands on our time and attention.
To maximize their success, project leaders need to be really focused on where they are attempting to get to. Every decision and action needs to be focused on the outcomes you are trying to produce. Ask yourself constantly, “does this move me closer to my goal?”
TASKQUE: Which is better for Small and Medium-Sized enterprises; Agile or Hybrid method?
DAVE: I think it is on an organization by organization basis. And, likely, it is on a case by case basis even.
Each method has its pluses and minuses. The key thing is to ask yourself what you are trying to achieve and try and figure out
TASKQUE: What challenges do you encounter when performing communication management in a cross-team environment and with customers? And how do you address them?
DAVE: Our job is communication; let me state that upfront.
Most of the big communication challenges come from not having clear communications expectations and practices. So what I try to get people in the habit of is sharing how and when they are going to communicate with folks and what they expect in return.
Using myself as an example, I tell folks to use me constantly. And that the easiest way to get me quickly is just to call me on the phone.
Other people like everything in email form.
You have to make sure that your expectations are set and what people can expect is clearly spelled out.
TASKQUE: How do you set the benchmark of productivity for your team and organization?
DAVE: I’m likely to focus on certain outcomes that lead to a larger goal. I’m not sure if that qualifies as benchmarking in a technical sense, but in managing teams, I like to give them the freedom to work towards an intended outcome with deadlines set, but not a heavy-handed management approach.
As an example, a project might have ten steps to it and I’d set goals according to each of those steps.
During the completion of those steps, I’m looking for updates and feedback, progress, but I’m not micromanaging each activity.
TASKQUE: Would you like to mention a name or two who has inspired you in the industry or someone you follow in the project management field.
DAVE: Susanne Madsen is great!
I also love Andy Kaufman. I was on the People and Projects podcast once. He’s really great!
TASKQUE: Technological advancements are reshaping the arena of project management. Businesses are implementing various tools for boosting efficiency these days. TaskQue is one such emerging task management tool across the market. What are your thoughts on TaskQue?
DAVE: I like the integrations with Google Docs, Slack, and Dropbox. As those tools have become industry standards, using them and integrating them into your workflow is very important.